Nike has announced the end of its partnership with NBA star Kyrie Irving after controversy engulfed the player for posting a link to an anti-Semitic film. “Kyrie Irving is no longer a Nike athlete,” a company spokesperson announced.
His initial refusal to apologize or condemn the film’s contents earned him suspensions from the Nets and Nike. The apparel company also canceled its launch of Irving’s next signature shoe, the Kyrie 8, from one of its most popular sneaker lines.
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” a statement from Nike said when the brand halted its relationship with Irving last month. “To that end, we’ve made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately and will no longer launch the Kyrie 8. We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”
Days later, speaking about the company’s decision to halt its relationship with Irving, Nike co-founder Phil Knight told CNBC, “Kyrie stepped over the line. It’s kind of that simple, so he made some statements that we just can’t abide and that’s why we ended the relationship.”
Irving represented Nike from the moment he entered the NBA as the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2011. His first signature shoe was launched in 2014, and he reportedly made a minimum of $11 million annually from Nike.